Pay Rise For MPs To Stop Rebellion

(Telegraph) – MPS ARE TO BE OFFERED A PAY RISE to make up for a loss of income from expenses claims under plans drawn up by Gordon Brown to quell a growing back-bench rebellion.

The Prime Minister is desperate to avoid a Commons mutiny over next month’s report by Sir Christopher Kelly, which is expected to sweep away many of the MPs’ allowances.

Under Mr Brown’s plan, any rise in an MP’s basic salary of £64,766 would be paid for by a reduction in ministers’ wages. Currently, 98 MPs serve as members of the Government, earning between £96,000 and £197,000. If they took a £20,000 pay cut, it would save almost £2 million and mean all 646 MPs could be paid around £3,000 more without further cost to the taxpayer.

The prospect of a pay rise for MPs just months after the expenses scandal would risk uproar. However, Mr Brown is desperate to avoid further criticism from his own MPs after Sir Thomas Legg’s insistence that they pay back thousands of pounds in excessive or incorrect claims.

Some have threatened to ignore his requests to repay public money.

The Prime Minister believes that Sir Christopher’s report will represent a bigger challenge to party leaders than the Legg inquiry as it is likely to recommend a series of measures that will severely curtail the expenses and allowances MPs are allowed to claim.

In particular, it is understood that he will forbid MPs from employing family members, a move that is certain to cause considerable anger among backbenchers.

Mr Brown has already said he will accept Sir Christopher’s findings. With MPs growing increasingly fearful of a stricter regime, he wants to offer them a deal that effectively buys their silence.

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